'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.' - author Jackie French

Friday, 19 February 2016

Tania's Picks: Five Exquisite Picture Books

We're so fortunate at KBR to be sent hundreds of books throughout the year--something that truly delights our book-obsessed team. But we also purchase many books, and for me, most of my purchasing goes into picture books (my true obsession).

Here are five exquisite books I've recently purchased and I can't recommend them highly enough. Both complicated and divinely simple, three are wordless. If you haven't explored wordless picture books yet, well--you simply must.

Bird by Beatriz Martin Vidal, Simply Read Books, 9781927018644, $27.99, 4+

This is quite simply one of the most stunning wordless picture books I have ever seen. It left me silent, entranced and completely moved. With an abstract storyline that nonetheless will resonate deeply with kids (even if they don't consciously understand its message), I was struck by the illustrations that showcase subtle emotion and 'knowing' like nothing I've ever seen before. Coupled only with a series of time-markers, this is a superb production that will sit as wall art near my desk for a very long time.

The White Book by Silvia Borando, Elisabetta Pica and Lorenzo Clerici, Walker, $24.99, 9781406363173, 0 - 3
Another wordless book that will entrance the younger set, as a little boy paints white walls with striking colours, only to reveal a series of creatures that appear as white outlines through the paint. The boy then reacts with these creatures in fun ways. Simple in design yet so beautifully-elegant and charming for both kids and adults. Perfect for design lovers.

The Prince and the Porker by Peter Bently and David Roberts, Andersen Press, $32.99, 9781783441082, 4+
Could it be? Two of my very favourite creators in the one book? Oh my--I was hopping when I saw this on the shelf. And it's every bit as glorious as I knew it would be. Featuring the superb, textured, humorous and drool-worthy colouring and styling Roberts is renowned for, I was in sheer heaven reading this story about a case of mistaken identity and its propensity to cause a ruckus. Rhyming text has not only been beautifully-done, it really suits the 'flavour' of this storyline that combines a clever concept with loads of humour. A new fave.

The Land of Lines by Victor Hussenot, Chronicle, 9781452142821, $19.99, 5+
Part picture book, part graphic novel, this virtually wordless story follows a boy and a girl from different lands who come together to explore new territories--basically page after page of incredibly-detailed line drawings in both red and blue (the girl is red and the boy is blue). As they continue to explore, they meet a yellow creature who joins the quest for exploration--until they find home. Absolutely jammed with eye-boggling line-drawing detail, this is designed for slightly older children, but kids as young as preschool age could absolutely spend time exploring the pages, and absorbing the understated nuance.

Plip the Umbrella Man by David Sire and Thomas Baas, Little Gestalten, 9783899557381, $38.99, 3 - 10
The illustrations in this book are what immediately drew me in--superbly-crafted, retro-inspired and a delectable colour palette of pistachio, black and red. While they look like a lot of kooky fun, the underlying themes to this book are a lot deeper and a lot darker. They cover deep sadness and depression, but not in a gloomy way. In a hopeful, creative and inspiring way that is deftly woven into the story with childlike appropriateness. These undertones are so well-crafted, they're certainly something that can be explored as children get older, but still 'felt' when they are young. The story is subtle, exquisitely illustrated and important.

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